Thermography, or Digital Infrared Thermal Imaging (DITI), is a 15-minute, non-invasive, radiation-free screening designed to improve chances for detection of fast growing active tumors in the intervals between mammography screenings or when mammography is not indicated by screening guidelines. Often this includes younger women, denser breast tissue, breast implants, and those wishing to avoid harmful radiation. It can also provide closer attention to a specific area of the breast that needs particularly close examination such as when an MRI is indicated.
Where mammography looks for structure such as a lump, thermography looks for the body’s physiological response to cancer cells. These changes can often occur 8-10 years before the cells are large enough to be seen by a mammogram.
Breast Thermography can detect abnormalities in breast tissue 8-10 years earlier than a mammogram. It takes years for a tumor to grow and the earliest possible indication of abnormality is needed to allow for the earliest possible treatment and intervention. The faster a malignant tumor grows, the more heat it generates and thermography looks for these signs as well as many other factors indicating a physiological red-flag for risk factors for the development or existence of cancer.
Thermography’s role in breast cancer and other breast disorders is to help in early detection and monitoring of abnormal physiology and the establishment of risk factors from the development or existence of cancer. When used with other procedures the best possible evaluation of breast health is made.
Thermography uses changes in breast tissue temperatures to identify changes in breast tissue. When pre-cancerous cells or cancerous cells form in the breast tissue, changes in blood flow and tissue concentration occur, resulting in temperature changes. The thermographic images will show the change in blood flow, tissue density as it is related to temperature, and heat distribution. This will then alert doctors of concerning changes.
The initial exam is done to determine a baseline and then a follow-up is done 3 months later to see if any changes have occurred. The images taken show your individual thermal fingerprint. Everyone has their own individual thermal fingerprint and the doctors will determine after your second exam if the results are your normal THERMAL FINGERPRINT or if changes have occurred. The only thing that can change your THERMAL FINGERPRINT is pathology. All patients thermograms (breast images) are kept on record and form a baseline for all future routine evaluations.